Type of Dive: Boat Dive
General Description: The wreck of the San Pedro, like many artificial reefs that occured accidentally
in the area, doesn't have much left except a somewhat organaized plile of scap metal. This doesn't at
all mean to say the dive is boring. Whether you enjoy following the bent metal parts and imagining
the ship that once was, or you keep your eyes open for sea life such as octopus, wolf eels, crabs and
fish - whatever you enjoy about diving you will find here.
In 1843 Hudson's Bay Company employees installed the first buoy on the reef, then called Buoy Rock.
In order to further the effort to signal the location of the rocks, tall poles were erected on a nearby
hill, now known as Beacon Hill (and Beacon Hill Park).
In 1849 Captain William Brotchie ran his ship, the barque Albion, into it and thereafter it was
renamed Brotchie Ledge.
On Sun 22 Nov 1891 the collier ship "San Pedro" ran onto Brotchie Ledge loaded with 4,000 tons of coal en-route from Comox to San Franciso. Both Captain C. H. Hewitt and pilot Capt. James Christensen, Sr. were on the bridge looking for the Brotchie Ledge buoy at the time. They planned to stop at the entrance of Victoria harbour to drop off the pilot. At 8:30PM the ship struck Brotchie Ledge, glanced off, struck again and stopped. Engines full astern had no effect and the tide was falling fast. The whistle blew a distress call and two tugs reached the ship about 11 p.m. By then, the stern was low and the bow hard on sharp rocks.
In an effort to refloat the ship, about 300 tons of coal was thrown over the side during the night with the help of 20 longshoremen, but the ship remained grounded. By Monday morning the ship was at a steep 45 degree angle and did not rise on the incoming tide. Divers examined the hull at daylight and found holes about 30 feet long in the hull. The owners believed until 1894 that the ship could be refloated. Three years and a great deal of money was spent trying to salvage the ship, all to no avail.
It was then decided that the San Pedro would be removed in pieces. The steamer still remained steadfastly in place and presented a menace to navigation and an eyesore to local residents.Dynamite was used to remove the wreck in sections as large as the derricks available could lift. The work was completed in August 1897 and work commenced on a new beacon.
Location: Victoria, near Ogden Point. The wreck runs east to west about 5' feet north of the light on Brotchie Ledge.
Depth: The rock at Brotchie Ledge lies just beneath the surface. Moving north from the rock the depth drops to 20 - 40'. Travelling north from the wreck, depths will descend beyond 40 feet.
What to see: sea life such as octopus, wolf eels, crabs and varieties of fish inhabit the wreck and call it home.
Hazards: In general, currents are easily naviagable at any time of day in this area. When diving the wreck, it just makes sense though to start up tide of the wreck and let whatever currents may exist carry you along the wreck.
Dive Certification: Due to the possibility of current, the abundance of kelp and boat traffic, this should be considered an Advanced Open Water dive with Dry Suit and Wreck specialites.